Comparing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for Your Car’s Dashboard

Comparing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for Your Car's Dashboard
"On the Road Verdict: Our Test of the Two Interfaces"

In this article we want to comparing Apple CarPlay and Android auto for your Car’s dashboard. The ongoing rivalry between Google and Apple spans numerous domains, from mobile phones and maps to cloud storage and smart assistants. In the realm of automobiles, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compete for control over your car’s dashboard. In this article, we delve into an in-depth exploration of these two platforms, comparing available apps, features, strengths, and weaknesses. Deciding between Android Auto and Apple CarPlay might seem like a small part of the larger Google vs. Apple showdown, but for everyday drivers, it’s a crucial choice.

A Familiar Aesthetic

As of the time of writing, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay share a strikingly similar appearance on your dashboard. There’s a certain limitation to organizing interfaces of this nature, resulting in both platforms having familiar layouts. Typically, your maps app occupies a large widget, the media app resides in a smaller widget, and quick navigation shortcuts are placed in another compact widget.

Both platforms grant the option to display any app in full-screen mode for a better view of your route or current music. Additionally, both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay provide indications of your phone’s signal strength and battery level while driving. Only CarPlay features a visible clock, but this information is generally covered by your car’s built-in instruments.

The user experience further aligns with a sidebar housing quick links to recently used apps, while a simple tap switches to a complete app drawer if you need to launch something different. Intuitive scrolling and navigation are paramount for both platforms’ usability.

Although Android and iOS typically exhibit visual differences, these distinctions carry over to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Android Auto’s design leans towards a chunkier, straightforward aesthetic, while Apple CarPlay leans towards a more detailed and refined appearance in terms of text and icons. However, transitioning between the two interfaces should present no confusion, as they function in remarkably similar ways.

Customization and Features

Android Auto goes the extra mile in terms of customization. It enables you to place quick controls for apps at the bottom of the screen, resembling a taskbar-style widget. This means playback controls for your media app can remain visible even as your mapping app occupies most of the screen space. Such a layout isn’t possible on Apple CarPlay, aside from the default multi-widget layout. Although a minor distinction, it can enhance convenience for those who prefer an expansive view of navigation maps while maintaining access to media playback controls. Of course, physical controls on the steering wheel offer an alternative solution.

Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay offer a similar range of apps. Popular map and media apps are available on both platforms, ensuring seamless navigation and entertainment experiences. For map apps, Google Maps and Apple Maps are accessible on Apple CarPlay, whereas Android Auto lacks Apple Maps support—though this would only affect non-iPhone users. Waze users will find compatibility on both platforms.

In the realm of music, Apple Music is available on Android Auto, mirroring its presence on Android. Furthermore, Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal, Deezer, YouTube Music, and various other options cater to diverse musical preferences. Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Google Chat provide communication convenience, while video streaming apps are absent from both platforms due to safety considerations.

App Availability and Voice Assistants

Apple CarPlay offers a lineup of audio apps akin to those on Android Auto. However, third-party messaging apps exhibit less robust support on CarPlay. While WhatsApp enjoys the best third-party integration, interaction is primarily limited to Siri commands, omitting message lists. Android Auto handles third-party messages more comprehensively, albeit messages only from the time of driving onward. In terms of voice assistants, both platforms showcase Google Assistant and Siri, effectively responding to voice commands for navigation, music control, weather updates, calls, and messages.

Configuration and Personalization

Reflecting Android’s reputation for customization, Android Auto offers more settings compared to Apple CarPlay. You can personalize whether Android Auto launches automatically with your car and control whether audio from the last-used app plays immediately. Android Auto also permits the customization of incoming message previews, day-to-night map mode transitions, and proximity of navigation or media controls to the driver.

Apple CarPlay empowers users to select wallpapers, toggle dark mode settings, and activate the Driving Focus mode when CarPlay is active. This mode helps manage distractions by controlling app access. iOS enables granular control over notifications displayed on the CarPlay dashboard, a feature that’s less nuanced on Android Auto.

The Current State of Play

Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay share an almost balanced parity in terms of aesthetics and functionality. While slight variations exist, neither platform significantly outpaces the other in in-car capabilities.

Notably, Apple has announced plans for a significant CarPlay update in late 2023. This upgrade aims to integrate CarPlay further with vehicle instruments, introduce additional widgets, offer support for multiple displays, and even incorporate a built-in FM radio app. The effectiveness and ubiquity of these enhancements remain to be seen.


choosing between Android Auto and Apple CarPlay depends on personal preferences, device ecosystems, and the driving experience you seek. Both platforms deliver seamless access to navigation, entertainment, and communication features, making your choice a matter of compatibility and comfort. As technology continues to evolve, it’s exciting to anticipate the advancements these platforms will bring to our driving journeys.